Saturday, 12 January 2008

Cheesy Lentil Loaf

Well, dang. Just when I wanted it to particularly cooperate as it come out of the pan, my lentil loaf split in half. Did it know I was taking a picture? I think I could have baked it a few minutes longer, and also I did not let it rest in the pan very long. However, I patched it up and it tasted just fine.

This tends to be a more popular lentil loaf than this one; mainly because everyone loves the cheeeeeeese! (Me too, even though I really like the other lentil loaf.) Even non-vegetarians like this one. To really win friends and influence people, you could up the cheese to 2 cups, although I think it's fine as-is.

4 to 6 servings
1 hour 30 minutes - 30 minutes prep time - but not counting the time to cook the lentils

Cheesy Lentil Loaf1 cup green or brown lentils
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 medium onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup rolled oats or bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups grated old cheddar cheese or other firm cheese
1 extra-large egg
1 cup tomato sauce or ketchup
1 teaspoon rubbed basil
2 teaspoons rubbed savory
1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon celery seed, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put the lentils in your rice cooker with the water and salt, and cook until done. I like to do this the night or morning before I want to finish the loaf, just to break the job up a little. Also, if you plan to make this after being out all day, it's good to have this step done ahead of time. Using the rice cooker means they don't have to be watched, but you could also cook them on the stove if you need to.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Heat the oil in a skillet, and cook the onion until soft and translucent. Add the onion and cook for a minute or two more.

Coarsely mash the lentils and mix in the onion and garlic, the oats, the cheese and the egg. Mix in the tomato sauce or ketchup (I tend to use a mix of whatever tomato-y products are hanging around in the fridge) and the spices. I like to let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes at this point as I use old-fashioned rolled oats, and they need a bit of time to soak up some of the liquid.

Press the mixture into an oiled or non-stick loaf pan. Brush the top with a little more ketchup if you like. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the edges of the loaf are nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges, then unmold onto a serving dish. It tends to look a bit plain by itself, so serve it garnished with whatever vegetable you are having with your lentil loaf.

No comments: